Title: Comforting Shadow

Sam/Jack, season 8, pg

Summary: 'She stopped, closing the door behind her and looking around, almost as if she knew he were there. But she couldn't possibly. Rarely had he done this, and never had he been caught.'

Author's Notes: Thanks to Angel Leviathan for her help!

xxx

He stood silently in the shadows of her lab, watching, waiting.

That made him sound like a stalker.

Maybe he was. But he didn't see it that way.

The door opened and he involuntarily drew in a breath. He'd say it was because she was so breathtaking. Maybe it was. Maybe he didn't want to be found in such a vulnerable position. And it was vulnerable, no way of arguing round it. She was his weakness, and he knew it. So did she.

She stopped, closing the door behind her and looking around, almost as if she knew he were there. But she couldn't possibly. Rarely had he done this, and never had he been caught.

She sat down at her lab table, laptop in front of her, papers full of what looked like data beside her. It still amazed him that she could find her work so continually interesting. He was glad he wasn't one to tire easily from standing for long periods of time; he knew how she lost track of time and ended up working for hours. He had nothing to do other than paperwork which he would find any excuse to get out of ā€“ not that standing watching his 2IC for hours on end would be a valid one in the eyes of the military. In fact it would have quite the opposite effect ā€“ and he didn't think even he could pull off the 'one needs to study one's 2IC at work to make sure he/she is still fully capable'.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed. Might have been a minute, might have been an hour, might have been longer. He wasn't even sure he'd been breathing, except he knew he had to have been.

"Don't you get bored, just standing there watching me?" she finally asked softly, not lifting her head from what she was doing.

Busted.

"No," he replied honestly. No point in trying to get out of it now.

There was silence for a moment, before she looked in his direction. "You know you can come out of the shadows."

"I know," although he realised that the thought hadn't even crossed his mind. He stepped forward, his eyes readjusting to the light. He smiled at her awkwardly, looking down as he shuffled his feet.

"Jack," she began.

He looked up, surprised.

"It wasn't my CO standing there in the shadows watching me for who knows how long, it was Jack," she answered, by way of explanation.

He did a very good Teal'c impression, lifting an eyebrow. She had a point. This wasn't CO and 2IC. This was Jack and Sam. He told her so.

She smiled.

"How did you know I was here?" he asked, quietly.

She smiled lightly. "I felt you."

"You felt me? But I was all the way over in the corner, Iā€¦"

"I felt your presence," she explained, cutting him off. "Call me crazy, but I always know when you're around. It's comforting."

He'd be damned if he ever admitted how much that meant to him. "If I did I'd have to call myself crazy too."

She looked up, meeting his eyes. "What are we doing?" she asked, softly.

He took a step towards her. "I don't know."

"I like it," she whispered.

He smiled. "Me too."

They were both silent for a moment, neither knowing where to tread on this new ground.

"I've done this before, you know," he admitted, looking back at the shadows.

She grinned at him, "I know."

He shook his head. This woman knew him too well.

"Guess this means you won't be hiding in the corner of my lab anymore," she mused, her voice betraying a hint of sadness.

He cleared his throat. "Guess not," he replied, fiddling with something on her desk.

Her smile faltered, and she felt an unwanted sob rising in her throat. "I could pretend I don't see you," she tried, choking ever so slightly on her words.

"And I could pretend I was never here."

"Nobody has to know," she whispered. It almost sounded like a plea, but they both knew Sam Carter never begged.

"No," he whispered back. "They don't."

Fin